Fact vs. Opinion

(Okay, here I go again!) How do we, as Christians, tell the difference between fact and opinion? I've been wrestling with that all of my adult life....

I grew up in a "the heart of the Bible belt" and being taught, among many things, that the KJV was the only good version of the Bible and that contemporary Christian music was less than ideal. When I went to college, I went to a Southern Baptist Christian school (Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, TN). As a Christian school, we were required to take certain religion classes. I remember being sooooo excited to learn in class that the KJV was only a translation of the Bible, not the "original" Bible (don't know what I thought before then....guess I was a little naive), that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. I couldn't wait to tell my Dad, thinking I would somehow "set him free" so that he could read other versions of the Bible that would be easier to read (even though I was an English major, I wasn't much of a fan of Shakespeare or Shakespearean English!!). I was pretty bummed -- and my parents were dumbfounded and shocked (I'm sure they felt something just shy of me selling my soul to the devil!). Needless to say, we didn't see eye to eye. At that time, I began using the NIV but I do not use that version now personally and I do NOT recommend the "TNIV" version. There are many version that I wouldn't recommend but that's a rabbit to chase another day. Our version of choice is the ESV -- a translation closer than the NIV to the original Hebrew and Greek and in a "modern" English. My relationship with my parents is GREAT and I love them and respect their opinion and I think we've learned over the years to agree to disagree on that topic (and maybe a few others!). :) [Seriously, this is NOT a post ragging on my parents or their beliefs -- hang on, I'm getting to the "meat" of this message!] So, here's what's going on with me lately -- everyone is aware that we homeschool and one thing some homeschooling families like us do is things called co-op. One co-op we attend meets every Thursday and offers a variety of classes to take. Nathan for example is taking an art and a science class and Caleb is taking a preschool class. The other co-op we attend meets once a month and offers a different activity each month. We've done many things together -- local parks, touring the Statehouse in downtown Columbus, going to the Ohio Historical Society -- field trip type things. Recently, we had an "Arts and Music" day. [This is also NOT a post ragging on this co-op -- Hi, Laura! -- this is ME sharing MY opinion!] We split the kids up into 2 groups and one woman taught an art class and another woman taught a music class. I was not there when this happened (but a good friend was), but I know that at some point during the music class, the kids were told that drums were not good. I knew from growing up that there were churches and groups of Christians who did not use drums (and some, not any instruments) in church so this wasn't a surprise to me. And I was not upset -- I very calmly explained to Nathan that we do not believe that way and tried to explain why other people do believe that way. It's hard to explain to any child how adults interpret the Bible in different ways -- to Nathan, the Bible is black-and-white (maybe we could learn something from him!) and there shouldn't be any "gray" areas where we come to misunderstandings. Oh, if it were that simple. Anyway, Nathan did not have a hard time understanding what I was trying to say and it, quite frankly, didn't bother him one bit. However, I decided to ask around and see if I could find someone to back up that belief with scripture. I sent out a message to my MOMYS email group (MOMYS stands for Mothers of Many Young Siblings and we have an email digest for women to share questions, concerns with having large families, etc) asking for scripture and no one was able to respond with any that mentioned that drums were "bad". I did hear from 2 MOMYS that said that they don't believe in the use of drums because drums can be used for evil purposes (such as, one MOMY mentioned, communicating with the spirit world). While that's totally on target -- any instrument can be used for bad purposes -- does that mean they are forbidden to be used to praise and worship God? (If you haven't figured it out yet, my answer to that question would be YES!) You've all probably seen half-dressed women laying across baby grand pianos singing provocative songs...organs are notorious for providing an eerie soundtrack for a scary movie...but yet those 2 instruments are used quite frequently in churches. Now, I'm not trying to say "they're wrong" and "I'm right" -- what I am trying to say is this --

If you can't base what you believe based on scripture, then what you have is an OPINION and we must be careful how we express our opinions to others (especially to children)!

Now, don't misunderstand me -- I have "opinions" that I follow and try to teach to my children that aren't specifically listed in scripture. For example, there's nothing in scripture (trust me, I've looked!) that says "Thou shalt not use birth control" yet we believe that God has lead our family to not use hormonal forms of birth control, to trust in Him for the final determination of our family size (since He's already written our story anyway....). Since I can't point to a verse that says birth control is bad, can I TELL other people it is? No -- what I can do is say "This is what I believe the Lord has lead me to do (or not do)" and "This is why I believe what I believe". I don't have a problem with this woman telling my children that she believes that drums are bad -- what I am uncomfortable with is someone TEACHING my children that something is wrong or bad unless, of course, there's a "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not" to back it up! Be careful, folks -- because making "blanket statements" like "drums are bad" alienate people from churches. They say to themselves "Well, that church (or that Christian) believes drums are bad and I happen to love drums (or play them) so I guess I'm not welcome there". [Personally, I wouldn't attend a church who believed that way because I happen to love all forms of Christian music (except for really hard rock or rap which I just can't stand -- but that's my opinion) and drums are definitely one of my favorite instruments and I firmly believe that can be used in worship!] Now, there are certainly some things that we must take a firm stand on, regardless of whether or not it alienates others or not -- we are told that Christ and the gospel are stumbling blocks and we should never stand there and let someone water down the gospel or deny who Jesus is without taking a stand about it for fear of hurting their feelings. But, that's another rabbit for another day, possibly.

The moral of this story is -- be sure you not only know WHAT you believe but WHY you believe it and if it is your church's or your family's OPINIONS or based on God's Word. And be careful what opinions you try to "teach" to other people. Don't be afraid to express your beliefs but don't judge others or point fingers because they don't believe like you do.


One more and I'm done for the day

Birthday flowers from my hubby!


I think Elizabeth gives it a whole new meaning!!!

And the winner is....

(Referring to my post on who does Timothy look like...)
2 votes voted for pic #2, which is John. Family members were quick to know who was who and everyone seems to think Timothy looks the most like John. I think they all look a little bit alike, though. Guess there's no denying any of them, huh? :) In case you're wondering, #1 is Caleb and #3 is Nathan!

More pictures: COSI

We went to COSI yesterday for a NASA event. Actually, the NASA part was disappointing but the kids still had a great time, as always, at COSI.
Part 1, playing with robotsJohn kept holding the remote backwards! :)
Part 2, playing in Kids Space (no pics of Nathan 'cause he has to hang out in the "big kids" room playing video games; Caleb was being camera shy)

More pictures: Play time at the mall

After co-op, we went out for some Chick-fil-A (the best chicken sandwiches and nuggets EVER) at Eastland and let the kids burn off some energy!! John and baby Abby (the little girl our friend baby-sits)

"I'm beautiful and I know it!" Caleb and friend, Fionna Aw, John made a friend!!

More pictures: Co-op Day

Arts classes! (There was also a music class that day.) Elizabeth was supposed to be drawing the camel....
Not much drawing going on here either! :)Nathan hard at work...he absolutely LOVES art.

More pictures

Don't you just love little babies' toes and bellies?!?! :)

Aw, isn't this cute? If they only treated each other like that every day!! :)


Pretty flowers

Some more pictures....these are a purple tulip and orchids at my friend's house.

You're going to get sick...

...of all the posts with pictures from our new camera! (Just thought I'd warn you!)

It's a little late but here's some pictures of the flowers I rec'd for V-Day from my amazing hubby! I love how the purple-colored daisies turned the water purple!! I promise that is NOT the vase -- my vase is completely clear.

Aren't they beautiful? :)

Thus saith the chocolate

Here it is -- I have permission!!

(From a Dove chocolate wrapper -- my hubby bought me a bag of my favorite Dove milk chocolate for V-Day)


New camera

Goofing off with our new camera! Here's some great pictures of Timothy! I love the hand and the ear!!


What do you think?

Here's pics of all the boys around 2-4 months old. I won't tell you which one is which although I will tell you that Timothy is on top (you've already seen that pic anyway) and they are not in order. Who do you think Timothy looks like?
#1 #2 or #3


My mind is full

I think I've overloaded the past few days! :)

We've started a new series in Sunday School called "Living a 'New Testament' Church" that is pretty "deep", for a lack of a better word. Not your basic "Jesus loves you" or "Be good this week" lesson. (And I, for one, am SO happy we're taking this detour away from the Lifeway books. Not that they're "bad" -- I'm just ready for something a little more challenging!) Some things that I'm thinking about from both Sunday's lesson as well as the Sunday before:
  • What am I doing to promote unity in my church?
  • Am I making going to church into a social activity or does it mean something to me (am I taking something away and actually USING it?)?
  • Am I living Christ not only to the world but, perhaps more importantly for this stage of my life, am I living Christ in front of my children?

And that's just the beginning. I also read this from a fellow homeschool mom's blog:

  • Can we really expect our children to shun screen time (TV, computers, games) in favor of books if we are constantly checking our email, reading message boards, or *gasp* blogging throughout the school day?
  • Can we admonish our children to finish their work in a timely way when we can barely get dinner on the table by nightfall?
  • Can we honestly reprimand our kids for letting projects go unfinished if they can look around and see a half-dozen incomplete projects (sewing, crafting, writing, cleaning) of our own making?
  • Can we chide our children for letting their work pile up until it is overwhelming when we are dealing with a mountain of neglected laundry every Saturday?
  • In short, if we are disorganized, scattered dilettantes, can we really expect anything better of our children?


As if my mind wasn't full enough, I've started a new book. "Genesis of a Legacy: Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World" by Ken and Steve Ham. [Ken Ham is the president of "Answers in Genesis" -- www.AnswersInGenesis.org] It's a doozy and not a "light read" by any stretch of the imagination. One question that stuck out to me went something like this:

  • Are we disciplining our children in order to get or not get what we want out of them (behavior modification) or are our homes places that nurture sancification in our children, where we discipline them to change their hearts, not their actions?

Nurturing sanctification in my home? Never thought of that. [Side note: Our former pastor told me that when I'm worn out from disciplining my kids or going batty and my grace and patience are being tested, look at them and tell them "I'd like to thank you for participating in my sanctification today". I thought that was funny -- should boggle their little minds!! :)]

Now the question becomes:


It's like doing First Place (which is turning out to be a joke this session). I'm frustrated with my quality of life (read: I'm fat and I know it and I really don't like it but I really like to eat) but that's not getting me anywhere. I can't seem to take that first step. Reading a parenting book -- or reading the Bible -- is only so good. If you're not going to put anything into practice, if you're not going to be changed by what you read (especially when you're reading God's word), then why are you wasting your time? That's what it basically boils down to -- am I wasting my time and burdening myself with guilt (guilt over not being a good mom, wife, or housekeeper; guilt over still being overweight and not taking the steps to loose; guilt over not studying my Bible or praying like I should) or am I actually going to DO something about it this time? Do I want my kids to grow up lazy like I did? Do I want my homeschooling efforts to be just enough to get them by or do I want them to excel? Do I want my marriage to be one that is successful or one where the years drag by and we end up basically just tolerating each other? If any of these things are going to happen, it's going to take change and change refers to action. Yes, change and action -- the 2 worst enemies of the lazy person!

And on that note, I'm off to find out why John is screaming and to get Timothy out of his crib 'cause he's screaming, too. :)

Oh, and by the way, we're snowed in up here!!


Timothy @ 2 months

Well, today, Timothy weighed in at
11 pounds, 14 ounces
(that's 2 ounces shy of 12 pounds!!)
22 1/4 inches long

He's gained 2 1/2 pounds and 1 1/4 inches in 1 month. Way to go, Timothy! :) He is still really congested from his latest cold but, thankfully, it's not sounding like any kind of bronchitis or pneumonia. If he's not any better by 3/1, we're supposed to take him back in, just in case. Also, he has a herniated belly button (umbilical hernia). Dr. said it was less than a centimeter long and should heal itself before he's 2 years old. Other than that, 4 shots and 1 oral vaccine later, he was good to go! He goes for his surgical consultation on Tuesday for his circumcision. He doesn't get in to the hearing dr until the end of March.
This month, we've gotten our first smiles and he's starting to show signs of sleeping through the night. Last night, he slept 6 hours!! :) Here's a few pictures, as promised.

Playing at the park

This is what you call a full house, folks! :)

Headed out for a little bit of play time today. Didn't stay very long because the wind was making it really cold out. Not looking forward to tomorrow's high in the teens! :(